NCAA Division III Preview: Defending Champions Kenyon, Emory Open Seasons

PHOENIX, Arizona, October 17. TWO of the most dominant schools in NCAA Division III history, Kenyon and Emory, will kick off their championship title defenses this weekend.

Kenyon College, the defending men’s NCAA Division III champions and women’s NCAA runner-up, will finally kick off its season on Saturday, hosting the annual Kenyon Relays. Last year’s meet featured an epic battle between Kenyon and longtime rival Denison — the men’s meet ended in a 116-116 tie, while the Kenyon women edged Denison, 120-112.

This season looks to be another strong one for the Lords and Ladies, as head coach Jess Book returns for a second season at the helm of both squads. Book, a Kenyon alum, was recognized as the 2013 NCAA Men’s Head Coach of the Year and 2013 NCAA Women’s Head Coach of the Year. Last season, 28 Kenyon swimmers were named to CSCAA All-American teams. Three of Kenyon’s NCAA individual champions return this season, including Maria Zarka (3-meter diving; 514.25), Celia Oberholzer (100 back; 53.46) and Austin Caldwell (200 free; 1:37.01), while All-Americans and NCAA champions Hannah Saiz and Ian Stewart-Bates have graduated.

Emory, the four-time defending women’s NCAA Division III national champions, will begin their title defense on Saturday against North Carolina-Wilmington. The Eagles dominated the 2013 NCAA championships, with two relay national championships and more than two-dozen All-American performances on the women’s side. The Emory men finished fifth in the men’s meet and will be looking to improve upon that performance in March 2014.

The University of Redlands, the ninth-place team at the 2013 NCAA men’s meet, will be in action this weekend as well, hosting the University of Redlands October Invitational on Saturday in the school’s season opening meet. The Redlands women will be led this season by defending national champion Chandra Lukes (100 free; 50.22), while the men’s team will look to 200 IM back-to-back national champion Jeff Depew to lead the team. Wheaton will take on Brandeis on Saturday.

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